It was last Thursday, move-in day for students at The New School, and Ellington Braun was bursting with excitement. She was about to move into her new dorm room on the 12th floor of Kerrey Hall.
Pushing a rolling cart overflowing with her clothes, books and posters, she opened the door to her suite, took one look inside, and immediately walked out.
“My suitemate said he had a surprise for me,” said Braun, who was equal parts shocked, embarrassed and amused. “I wasn’t expecting all this!”
Hung up on the walls were poster-sized close-ups of Braun’s face, including a kitschy portrait of her as a little girl and another of her visage superimposed on Halle Berry’s head.
“This is my way of welcoming her to her new home,” said Dylan Reissner, her suitemate and high school friend. “I knew she would love it.”
And so marked the beginning of Braun’s first 24 hours at The New School—a day filled with stress, anticipation and dozens of decorating decisions.
Though Ellington, a freshman in the Fine Arts BFA program at Parsons School of Design, didn’t have much say over the design of the common area (Reissner already took care of that), she did have an entire wall in her room to work with. She planned on hanging a poster from the Collection of Outside Art in Switzerland and another of the musician Drake “because I really really love Drake.” She also planned to put out a multi-colored vintage lamp she purchased from her favorite thrift store in her hometown of Richmond, VA.
An aspiring illustrator with an interest in all areas of fine arts, Ellington chose to attend The New School because of its “amazing reputation” and “accomplished faculty.” She was looking forward to the first day of school, but first, she had to figure out how to Feng shui her new home.
Said Braun, “I’ve got a lot of work to do.”